By Steve Murrells, Co-op CEO
Mental wellbeing is vitally important, unfortunately one in four people are affected each year by mental health issues. That’s 14 million people in the UK.
Today is World Mental Health Day and we’re announcing our new Co-op charity partnership as part of our commitment to improve mental wellbeing for our colleagues and our communities across the United Kingdom.
It not only feels right that as a Co-op we focus on this issue, but our Community Wellbeing Index has identified mental wellbeing as an area that needs our support. Supporting the issues surrounding mental wellbeing is a key part of our Co-operate 2022 plan and is interlinked to our other key focus areas, spaces and skills, to create healthier and happier communities.
For decades mental health has been under reported and underfunded. It’s also one of those issues people still find difficult to talk about, despite the fact it can affect any of us at any time.
That’s why I’m so pleased to be able to announce that we’re partnering with three amazing charities, which together cover every part of the UK: Mind working in England and in Wales, SAMH working in Scotland and Inspire in Northern Ireland.
Mental health in the workplace
It’s the experiences of our colleagues and our knowledge of local communities that’s led us to make mental health a priority.
There are many things that can affect both mental and physical health, including work. From funeralcare colleagues dealing with bereaved families, to food and logistics colleagues dealing with shift patterns, to financial worries and general work load that can affect all colleagues.
We recognise all of these issues and have put in place policies and practical support, like our Lifeworks employee assistance programme and our financial help through Neyber. Just this week we’ve announced our collaboration with the Samaritans. But we know there’s more we can do and we will.
Mental health in our communities
Bringing people together to share experiences, skills and spaces is really important to encourage better mental health and we’re supporting local causes that do just that. And it’s why we’re campaigning to save endangered public spaces which are essential for connecting people. Partnering with mental health charities is another way we’re stepping-up our commitment to community wellbeing.
With the help of colleagues across the business and through customer donations and sales of our Christmas sandwiches, we’re aiming to raise £6 million for our charity partners over the next 18 months.
So fundraise away, tell your friends, family and our members and customers about our work to support mental wellbeing.
We’ll be sharing fundraising ideas, hints and tips over the course of the partnership, but I know from our past just how amazing you are this.
You can access our colleague fundraising pack here.
As we did with our loneliness and social isolation work, we’ll be doing research to help us understand where we could make the greatest difference with the money we raise. We’ll also be campaigning at a national level to improve how decision-makers understand mental health and what legislative changes could help.
Finally, please know that if you’re struggling with your mental health you’re not alone. If you need support, you can get help today. Call Lifeworks using our confidential 24/7 phone number on 0800 069 8854.